Eileen Haggerty

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As healthcare services, such as electronic medical records (EMR) and radiology services, are increasingly digitized, the need for network and application reliability is becoming a matter of life and death. Further complicating the challenge IT professionals face, more and more healthcare organizations are deploying virtualized network services and adopting “as-a-service” models. Without sufficient monitoring of these virtualized environments, healthcare IT is unable to stay ahead of slowdowns and outages that directly impact the patient care delivery network. As a result, doctors, nurses, clinicians, and most importantly, patients, may suffer the consequences.

In the case of the DICOM protocol (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), which is used to communicate radiology information, healthcare providers must have rapid access to stored documents and images in order to make an accurate diagnosis or execute a prescribed medical procedure. Any delays in being able to pull up vital patient imagery can have life or death consequences.

Slowdowns or outages typically result in war room finger pointing between healthcare IT staff and third-party vendors. As everyone focuses on proving their part of the environment wasn’t responsible for disruption, valuable time is wasted – and lives are put at risk.

Whether hosted in private data centers or public cloud environments, maintaining the performance of virtualized healthcare applications is absolutely imperative. Innovations that expand the reach of proactive monitoring and analysis of the east-west traffic of virtualized applications are needed to provide necessary visibility into virtualized healthcare applications, so IT can overcome any challenges.

Healthcare IT can begin to address network and application challenges by implementing a proactive monitoring solution that relies on wire traffic to deliver visibility and service assurance capabilities, facilitating effective troubleshooting in the war room. Using virtual agents for monitoring can provide critical insights into how traffic flows through the virtualize environment, providing much needed visibility into any existing gaps. These insights make it possible to pinpoint the cause of any slowdowns or outages.

With the right solution in place, healthcare IT professionals can significantly reduce mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR) across new virtualized environments. Instead of having systems disrupted for weeks and the war room being consumed by an endless blame game, analysis can be conducted quickly – often times in under an hour.

For doctors and hospital staff, the performance of these vital systems can determine the outcome of a medical emergency. Reducing the time to pinpoint a problem and achieve service assurance undoubtedly saves lives. Nothing could be more important.

This blog is based on the article, Applying The Concept Of Preventative Care To Your Virtualized Application Services, written by Eileen Haggerty, Senior Director Enterprise Business Operations for NETSCOUT, which was published on Health IT Outcomes.

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